Expect Big Changes in Fisheries Report Next Year

The 2009 report from NOAA shows New Bedford, Mass. and Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, remained on top for value and amount of fish landed. But the Louisiana and Mississippi ports that did well in 2009 won't fare as well this year.

The newly released 2009 fisheries report from NOAA inadvertently points out what was lost when this year's oil spill caused the government to close large areas in the Gulf of Mexico to fishing. While New Bedford, Mass. and Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, remained on top in 2009 for the value and amount of fish landed, some Louisiana and Mississippi ports ranked in the top 10 won't do as well this year.

The "Fisheries of the United States 2009" report says New Bedford brought in $249.2 million of fish in 2009 and an increase of 23.6 million pounds from the prior year, ranking it best for value for the 10th consecutive year. Dutch Harbor-Unalaska was best in total amount landed, 506.3 million pounds of fish and shellfish, and has held this spot for 21 consecutive years. The value of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska's 2009 catch was second highest at $159.7 million.

Total national domestic commercial landings in 2009 were 7.9 billion pounds valued at $3.9 billion, according to the report, which said the total fell from 8.3 billion pounds and $4.4 billion in value during 2008.

Louisiana and Mississippi ports among the top 10 were Empire-Venice, La.; Intercoastal City, La.; Pascagoula-Moss Point, Miss.; Cameron, La.; and Dulac-Chauvin, La.

Commercial fishing is a high-hazard industry. When BLS released its preliminary count of 2009 workplace fatal injuries, 4,340, on Aug. 19, it reported 551 of them (13 percent) involved workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting.

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